« AnteriorContinuar »
.5-E R M. not strewed with flowers. Human life P^^j admits not of continued pleasure; nor is it always rendered happy by great exaltation. Remember, that it is a middle region which is the native station of tranquillity. It neither aspires to those heights of the atmosphere where the thunder is formed; nor creeps always on the ground. Affect not, on every occasion, to put yourselves forward. Be content to retire sometimes into the shade; and allow others to take their
proper place. It will be easily seen,
that I speak not now to the ambitious and aspiring; but to those who value tranquillity more than splendid appearance in the world.
Such persons I also advise, while they i expect not too much from the world, neither, also, to form too high expectations from the characters of those on whose friendship they rest, and with whom it is their lot to be connected, either in social or domestic relations. If you have looked for perfection any where, you will find yourself disappointed; and
the consequence of this disappointmentSERM. will be, that friendship will cool, and i^^u disgust succeed. If you wish to enjoy comfort in any os your connections, take your fellow-creatures as they are, and look for their imperfections to appear. You know you have your own; bear with those of others, as you expect that they are to bear with you. As no one is without his failings, few also are void of amiable qualities. Select for your companions, those who have the greatest share of such qualities; and value them accordingly.—In a word, make the best of this world as you find it. Reckon both on the state of human life, and on the society of men, as mixed, and chequered with good and evil. Carrying always in your eye such views of things, you will be best formed to those equal spirits, and that reasonable disposition of mind, which make the basis of tranquillity. I shall only add as my
Seventh, and last advice on the subject,
S E R M.to mix retreat with the active business 'pof the world, and to cultivate habits of serious thought and recollection. I before advised those who are not particularly engaged in active life, to form to themselves some object of pursuit, in order to furnish proper employment to time and thought. But the great multitude of men are in a different situation. Industry is required of them; business and cares press; and active pursuits occupy their closest attention. He, who, in this situation, pours himself forth incessantly on the world, cannot escape partaking much of its disturbance and trouble. Amidst bustle, intrigue, and dissension, he must pass many an uneasy hour. Here an enemy encounters him; there, a rival meets him. A suspicious friend alarms him one hour; an ungrateful one provokes him the next. I do not recommend, that for these reasons, he who studies tranquillity should retire from all public business, and forsake the haunts of men. This were the retreatof a monk, not of a good and a
•wise man. Tranquillity were tod deaf - SERM. ly purchased by the neglect of those du- J^ij ties which belong to a man, and a Christian. Nor indeed in absolute seclusion from the world is tranquillity ever found. On the contrary, when the human mind is cut off from those employments for which it was designed by nature and Providence, it preys on itself, and engenders its own misery. Tranquillity is always most likely to be • attainedj'when the business of the world is tempered with thoughtful and serious retreat. Commune with your hearts on your bed, and be JIM. Leaving this world to itself, let there be seasons which you devote to yourselves, and to God. Reflection and meditation allay the workings of many unquiet passions; and place us at a distance from the tumults of the world. When the mind has either been ruffled or cast down, in intercourse with God and heaven we find a sanctuary to which we can retreat. In the hours of contemplation and devotion, a good man enjoys himself in Vol. IV. T peace.
SERM. peace. He beholds nobler objects than J^}' what worldly men can behold. He assumes a higher character. He listens to the voice of nature and of God; and from this holy sanctuary comes forth with a mind fortified against the little disturbances of the world. Such habits, .therefore, cannot be too much recommended to the lovers of tranquillity, as powerful subsidiary means for attaining that happy state.
I Have thus pointed out what appears to me the discipline of religion and wisdom for tranquillity of mind. He that .doth these things /hall never be moved.— During the early periods of life, vivid sensations of pleasure are the sole objects thought worthy of pursuit. Mere ease and calmness are despised, as the portion of the aged only and the feeble. Some longer acquaintance with the world, with its disappointed hopes and fallacious pleasures, teaches almost all men, by degrees, to wish for tranquillity and peace. B ut you must not imagine, that